This is the time of year when people dig holiday ornaments out of basements and attics and commence decking the halls, walls and windows. If you find yourself low on suitable ornaments this year, or just want to take your decorating style in a different direction, you might be tempted to head out to the store for a new collection.
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But wait! There are a plethora of materials available in your home or in neighborhood thrift stores that are perfect for getting into the spirit of an green-minded holiday.


Before you send all those office papers, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, old wrapping papers or gift bags to the recycling bin, think about repurposing them as original ornaments for the tree or window display. There are lots of different snowflake patterns available online, and even though it’s a great craft idea for kids, it’s a perfect party activity for the young at heart as well. Simply add a bit of string or ribbon for hanging. If you want to add some variety to your folded-paper ornaments, you can also use this Instructables guide to creating a colorful origami ball ornament.


Knowing what to do with expired electronics can be frustrating in communities where responsible e-waste recycling services are hard to find. The creators of the Geekware blog feel your pain, and have published an amazing series of posts about how to create your own tech-centric holiday ornaments using bits and pieces of old gadgets and devices. If you’re not willing to dismantle your own electronics for ornament making, many discarded parts or accessories can be found gathering dust at local thrift stores.

Garden clippings

Before Walmart or Target developed a stranglehold on the affordable holiday ornament market, many people simply gathered their decorations from the forests and gardens around their home. That sparkly tinsel and garland that now adorns many homes and shop windows was actually inspired by berries, plants and tree boughs that were readily available during the winter months. Here’s an easy guide to making free holiday decorations from things that can be found in the woods, garden or even your front yard. Have you ever used recycled materials to create holiday decorations? Share them in a comment!